by Taylor Caldwell, and excerpt from a novel about St. Paul on this GOOD FRIDAY 🙂
Oh, you have embraced the folly of pride, and how dare man be proud? Of what can he be proud? His history? May God forgive us this blasphemy! You have often spoken of the future. The future is born in the womb of the present, and I see nothing in the present, or in the past that promises glory for man, created by himself. For he cannot rid himself of his baseness by his own effort. It is written that a man cannot earn merit by himself, for he is underserving of merit. History is our witness. Man was not born for his glorification. Scripture teaches us that man was born solely to know and to love and to serve God and nothing else, and in that knowing and loving and serving -alone- can he transcend his nature and become more than man. You have based your hopes on the world, which will pass away and be known no more among the suns and the Pleiades, nor will Orion know her any longer. On this frail orb that pursues her star you think to establish the golden city of man’s reason and man’s aspiring alone, forever and a day. You believe that it will be by the will and design of man alone that evil will be abolished- yet evil is the very nature of man, and immutable. He is a shadow, and on the shadows you would erect eternal palaces and pleasure-ways and advance urbane conversation and peace and what you aver are ethics. You know you are mortal, and in your shallow hearts you deny mortality, and speak of the far future as if you will be there, alive and triumphant! You do not know that future, but you have deluded yourselves that you will be there! Or is your vaunted ‘glory of man in the future’ enough for you, who will be dust tomorrow? ……………
How pathetic you are. Your own deaths in this little time has not been believed by you. You have really hoped you will be part of the future which to me appears terrible, not beautiful. You believe in pleasure, in the day’s tranquility and grace and conversation and the meeting of friends…You deny the resurrection of the dead which has been promised, for you believe that when men are dead they are no more than the beasts of the field. It is evil enough that you have betrayed God….
For peace in your time, and pleasure, and worthless harmonies, and prettinesses, and conversing, and pride and dainty perversities, and music …and dancing girls and money and handsome houses and villas and servants and laughter and strange women and theaters and baths and arenas and gambling and horses and evil little appetites and enjoyments, you have called upon your people not to resist, not to believe in the Promise of the Ages- to obey, to bow down their heads, to submit their necks to the yoke. You have taken God from them and for that you will not be forgiven!
It was your duty to sustain your people with the hope of Messias, to alleviate their hunger with your fortunes, to intercede for them, to nourish their faith in God, blessed be His Name, to exalt them with patience in their tribulations, to turn their eyes to the sun and to the stars, to repeat to them the Promise that has been given to us, to strengthen their endurance. What man will not suffer in quietude if he knows his Redeemer is nigh, and that god has not abandoned him?